Pharmaziehistorische Bibliothek Dr. Helmut Vester (DFG; Vester Collection)

Bild Exlibris Dr. Helmut Vester
Exlibris Dr. Helmut Vester

About the collection

The "Pharmaceutical Historical Library Dr. Helmut Vester" is one of the most important collections of the University and State Library Düsseldorf. The works collected in it dating from the 16th to the 20th century have a high bibliophilic value. Thematically, the collector Dr. Helmut Vester (1913-2002), a pharmacist from Düsseldorf, focused on sources on the history of pharmacy, medicine and related subjects. His "Vester's Archive. Institute for the History of Pharmacy" was divided into three libraries (B I, B II, B III), of which the most extensive and important (B I) is located in the ULB.

The holdings available in the ULB have several special features. The very comprehensive and almost complete collection of pharmacopoeias and dispensaries from all over the world is not only of great value for research. It is supported by a large number of historical herb and plant books from the 16th to 19th centuries, some with very elaborate and attractive illustrations.

The "Pharmaceutical History Library Dr. Vester" fits very well with the already existing medical collection of the University and State Library.

Literature about the collection:

Lischka, Marion: Vesters Archiv. Eine universale Dokumentation und Sammlung zur Geschichte der Pharmazie. Essen: Klartext 1997 (Medizin im Museum, Supplement 1).

Plassmann, Max: Die Pharmaziehistorische Bibliothek Dr. Helmut Vester in der Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek Düsseldorf. Sonderdruck aus: Imprimatur. Ein Jahrbuch für Bücherfreunde. N.F. 19.2005. Pages 51–66. Ill.

Dreis, Gabriele: Wissen mehren und verbreiten: Zur Digitalisierung schriftlichen Kulturguts in der Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek Düsseldorf. In: Digitalisierung in Regionalbibliotheken. Hrsg. von Irmgard Siebert. Sonderbd. 107. Frankfurt/Main: Klostermann 2012. Pages 87–115, esp. Pages 103ff.

About the project

In June 2009, the ULB's application for funding to digitize the "Pharmaceutical Historical Library Dr. Vester" was approved by the German Research Foundation for an initial period of three years. During the first phase of the project (running from 1.11.2009-31.1.2012), approximately 1,900 works in the public domain were digitized. The project was supervised by the ULB (project manager: Kathrin Lucht-Roussel). Cooperation partners were Prof. Dr. Achim Landwehr, Institute for Early Modern History, and Prof. Dr. Jörg Vögele, Institute for the History of Medicine at Heinrich Heine University. The technical realization was carried out by semantics GmbH in cooperation with semantics GmbH in Kooperation mit der Walter Nagel GmbH & Co KG. The digitization was carried out by the company Mikro-Univers GmbH. By the end of January 2012, two thirds of the public domain holdings were digitized. From September 2012, the follow-up project for the digitization of the last third of the "Pharmaziehistorische Bibliothek Dr. Vester" was underway. In this second phase (01.09.2012 - 30.04.2014) Sandra Heppener and Kathrin Kessen had the project management - all previous cooperations remained. The digitization was realized by the company MIK Center GmbH, Berlin. Since the completion of this phase, the public domain holdings of the entire B-I collection have been available digitally, analogous to their physical presence. The following system was developed by the collector Dr. Helmut Vester himself. The Vester collection is arranged according to this systematics.

Gefördert durch die


In 2018, the ULB was able to add 106 volumes to the Vester Collection. Library B II was on permanent loan to the Pharmazie-Historisches Museum in Basel. The old holdings (16th to 18th century) were extracted from the collection stored there and brought back to Düsseldorf. In this way, the most valuable parts of the collection could be reunited. 26 of these volumes, which were not yet available digitized, were added to the digitized material from the DFG project and can be found under the category Vester Collection B II.